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Historic Spitfire Lands in Greece After 68 Years

Spitfire Greece
Credit: Peter Kempson

Greece welcomed on Thursday a historic Spitfire from the Hellenic Air Force which was last seen slicing through Greek skies 68 years ago.

The MJ755 flew over Athens once again returning from the United Kingdom, where it was fully restored and returned to flight-worthy condition.

The MJ755 made her first engine runs in late December of 2019. In January 2020 she was ready for her first flight, conducted by veteran British pilot Peter Kynsey.

The Spitfire landed on Corfu, then at Ioannina and from there it flew to Tatoi, just north of Athens. Upon entering the Greek airspace it was given an honor escort by Greek fighter aircraft.

Spitfire Greece
Hellenic Airforce jets escort the historic Spitfire to Tatoi. Credit: Peter Kempson

In total, it flew for 10 hours from England to Athens.

History of the Spitfire in Greece

The MJ755 was one of 77 Spitfires presented to the then Hellenic Royal Airforce to help rebuild Greece’s fleet; it was delivered to Athens by RAF pilot George Dunn DFC on February 27, 1947.

Spitfire Greece
Credit: Peter Kempson

In April of that year, it joined the 335th Royal Hellenic Pursuit Squadron in Sedes while from 1949 it was used as a training aircraft for military pilots in Tatoi.

In 1950, it was transferred to the State Aircraft Factory in Faliro, where it was converted to a photo-reconnaissance plane.

Its last flight was in 1953 before it was permanently grounded and turned into an exhibit, first at the Tatoi air base and then in the courtyard of the War Museum in Athens.

Spitfire Greece
Credit: Peter Kempson

It was transferred back to Tatoi in 1995 after the creation of the Air Force Museum; in 2018 it was sent to a special restoration facility at Biggin Hill Airport outside London for a complete restoration.

Greece had received its first Spitfire from the British in the Middle East at the end of 1943. Initially they equipped the 336 Interceptor Squadron and afterwards the 335 Interceptor Squadron.

After extensive military action over North Africa and Yugoslavia, the Greek Spitfires returned to Greece in October of 1944.

After they took part in the early battles of the Civil War, they were replaced in combat duties by new versions and, beginning in 1947, they were used for training in combat tactics in the Air Force Flight School.

The Spitfire is the most famous plane of World War Two. Its groundbreaking design and superior specifications gave the British a decisive advantage fighting the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. But early models were often cruelly exposed in head-to-head duels with the enemy.

Spitfire, also called Supermarine Spitfire, was the most widely produced and strategically important British single-seat fighter of the war.

It was designed by Reginald Mitchell of Supermarine Ltd., in response to a 1934 Air Ministry specification calling for a high-performance fighter with an armament of eight wing-mounted 0.303-inch (7.7-mm) machine guns.

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